14 Sept 2012

6th Army, Soviet

In September 1939 it participated in the Soviet invasion of Poland. At the beginning of war the Army (6th Rifle Corps, 37th Rifle Corps (which included the 80th, 139th, and 141st Rifle Divisions), 4th and 15th Mechanized Corps, 5th Cavalry Corps, 4th Fortified Region, and 6th Fortified Region (Rava-Ruska), and a number of artillery and other units)[2] was deployed on the Lviv direction. It started the Second World War as part of the Soviet Southwestern Front. The army's headquarters was disbanded 10 August 1941 after the Battle of Uman. In this battle, the 6th Army was caught in a huge encirclement south of Kiev along with the 12th Army.

Second Formation
It was immediately reformed within the Southern Front on the basis of 48th Rifle Corps and other units, and defended the west bank of the Dnepr River northwest of Dnipropetrovsk. On 1 September 1941 it consisted of 169th, 226th, 230th, 255th, 273rd, and 275th Rifle Divisions, 26th and 28th Cavalry Divisions, 47th Rifle Regiment (15th NKVD Rifle Division), 269th, 274th, and 394th Corps Artillery Regiments, 522nd High-power Howitzer Artillery Regiment гап б/м, 671st Artillery Regiment of the Reserve of the Supreme High Command (ап РВГК), 14th, 27th Separate Anti-Aircraft Artillery Divisions, and 8th Tank Division. It was then transferred to the Soviet Southwestern Front and took part in defensive actions in the Donbas, the Barvenkovo-Lozovaia operation, and the Second Battle of Kharkov, but along with the 57th Army, was surrounded in the Izium pocket with the loss of 200,000 plus men in casualties alone, and afterwards formally disbanded.

Third Formation
The Army was reformed in July 1942 for the third time from the 6th Reserve Army, comprising the 45th, 99th, 141st, 160th, 174th, 212th, 219th, and 309th Rifle Divisions plus the 141st Rifle Brigade. It was assigned in sequence to the Voronezh, Southwestern, and 3rd Ukrainian Fronts. In January 1943, the 6th Army smashed through the defensive lines of the Alpini divisions of the Italian 8th Army as part of Operation Little Saturn.

In September 1943 it consisted of the 4th Guards Rifle Corps (38th Guards, 263rd, 267th Rifle Divisions), 26th Guards Rifle Corps (25th Guards, 35th and 47th Guards Rifle Divisions), and the 33rd Rifle Corps (50th, 78th, 243rd Rifle Divisions).[5]

In 1944 it took part in the Nikopol-Kryvyi Rih, Bereznogova-Snigorovka, and Odessa offensives. Disbanded in June 1944.

Fourth Formation
Reformed in December 1944 with troops from 3rd Guards and 13th Armies. On 1 January 1945 the Army consisted of the 22nd Rifle Corps (218th and 273rd Rifle Divisions), the 74th Rifle Corps (181st and 309th Rifle Divisions), the 359th Rifle Division, the 77th Fortified Region, and other support units.[6]

During 1945 the Army took part in the Sandomierz–Silesia, and the Lower Silesia offensives. During the Lower Silesia offensive in February 1945, 6th Army, commanded by Marshal Ivan Koniev, besieged Fortress Breslau (Festung Breslau) in the Battle of Breslau. The army besieged the city on February 13, 1945, and the encirclement of Breslau was completed the following day. The 1st Ukrainian Front forces besieged the city with the 22nd and 74th Rifle Corps, and the 77th Fortified Region, as well as other smaller units. Even approximate estimates vary greatly concerning the number of German troops trapped in Breslau. Some sources claim that there were as many as 150,000 defenders, some 80,000 and some 50,000. The Siege of Breslau consisted of destructive house-to-house street fighting. The city was bombarded to ruin by artillery of the 6th Army, as well as the 2nd Air Army and the 18th Air Army. During the siege, both sides resorted to setting entire districts of the city on fire.

After the end of the Second World War, the 6th Army was withdrawn from Germany and stationed briefly in the Orel Military District before being disbanded in the Voronezh Military District late in 1945

Active 1939 to 1945


Operation Barbarossa
Second Battle of Kharkov


Lieutenant-General Filipp Golikov, 28 September 1939 to July 1940

Filipp Golikov
Filipp Golikov

Lieutenant-General Ivan Muzychenko, 26 July 1940 to 10 August 1941
Major General, Lieutenant-General Rodion Malinovsky, 25 August 1941 to 24 December 1941

Rodion Malinovsky
Rodion Malinovsky

Major General, Lieutenant-General Auxentios Gorodnyansky, 25 January 1942 to 27 May 1942
Major General, Lieutenant-General Fyodor Kharitonov, 8 July 1942 to 20 May 1943
Lieutenant-General Ivan Shlemin, 21 May 1943 to 28 May 1944
Colonel General Vyacheslav Tsvetayev, 12 September 1944 to 28 September 1944
Major General Fyodor Kulishev, 29 September 1944 to 6 December 1944

Lieutenant-General Vladimir Gluzdovsky 7 December 1944 to 9 May 1945

Army Troops

6th Rifle Corps - Major General I.I. Alekseev

41st Rifle Division - Mj.Gen. G.N. Mikushev
97th Rifle Division - Col. N.M. Zakharov
159th Rifle Division - Col. I.A. Mashchenko

37th Rifle Corps - Major General S.P. Zibin

80th Rifle Division - Mj.Gen. V.I. Prokhorov
139th Rifle Division - Col. N.L. Loginov
141st Rifle Division - Mj.Gen. Ya.I. Tonkonogov

5th Cavalry Corps - Major General F.V. Kamkov

3rd Cavalry Division - Mj.Gen. M.F. Maleev
14th Cavalry Division - V.D. Kryuchenkin

4th Mechanized Corps - Major General Andrey Vlasov

Andrey Vlasov
Andrey Vlasov

8th Tank Division - Col. P.S. Fotchenkov
32nd Tank Division - Col. E.G. Pushkin
81st Motor Rifle Division - Col. P.M. Varipaev
Transferred to 6th Army from 26th Army on evening of June 22nd

8th Mechanized Corps - Major General Dmitry Ryabyshev

Dmitry Ryabyshev
Dmitry Ryabyshev

12th Tank Division - Mj.Gen. T.A. Mishanin
34th Tank Division - Col. I.V. Vasil'ev
7th Motor Rifle Division - Col. A.G. Gerasimov
Transferred to 6th Army from Front command on evening of June 22nd

15th Mechanized Corps - Major General I.I. Karpezo

10th Tank Division - Mj.Gen S.Ya. Ogurtsov
37th Tank Division - Col. F.G. Anikushkin
212th Motor Rifle Division - Mj.Gen. S.V. Baranov

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